“We began to realize that our film connects to the current moment in a powerful and urgent way”

A still of Free Chol Soo Lee by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi. (Photo: Grant Din)

The past two years have prompted a lot of thinking and reconsideration about why we make our films as well as how we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking – whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology, or the way you relate to your audience – did you have to reinvent to make and complete the film you you bring to the festival? This year?

We always knew our film would tell how the life of an Asian American was shaped by racism in the second half of the 20th century. What we never imagined is what the last two years would look like. From the former president’s insults and provocations, to street violence against people of Asian descent, to the racialization of the pandemic itself, there has been a heightened awareness of what Americans of Asian descent continue to face. We began to realize that our film connects to the present moment in a powerful and urgent way. Asians in America have always faced discrimination, but the story of Chol Soo Lee tells how, in this case, the communities that make up Asian America came together to overcome an injustice. We find ourselves moved by their determination and find the strength to connect this story to our current events. As we move through the moment we find ourselves in, we hope audiences can draw perspective and strength from this connection as well.

See all the answers to our annual Sundance question here.


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